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Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News, June 6, 2008

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Tour team participation contracts signed

Agreements include strong anti-doping measures

By Hedwig Kröner

Eric Boyer
Photo ©: Régis Garnier
(Click for larger image) Eric Boyer

All 20 invited professional cycling teams, including 17 ProTour teams have signed their participation contracts with Tour de France organiser Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO). Similarly to Paris-Nice, ASO has proposed to the teams a contract stipulating the terms and conditions of their participation, as the event will not be held under the authority of the International Cycling Union (UCI). As the head of the team's association AIGCP, Cofidis manager Eric Boyer, confirmed to Cyclingnews on Friday, all the teams agreed with the document' clauses, which include a possible fine of 100,000 Euro in case of a positive doping test occurring during the three-week Grand Tour.

In order to protect the image of the race, organiser ASO included a set of rules to follow in the case of an emerging doping affair. "If a rider tests positive during the Tour, or if a positive test prior to the Tour is made public during the event, and if there is a verified complicity of the team staff, the team will be asked to leave the Tour and to pay a fine of 100,000 Euro. To me, that is completely legitimate," said Boyer. "In the event of a positive doping case where the rider acted on his own, there will be no fine and the team will be allowed to stay. If there is a legal dispute, the Chambre arbitrale du Sport (the Arbitration Chamber of France's National Olympic Committee - ed.] will rule on the case within 24 hours. Its decision will be binding for both the organiser and the team."

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Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of the Dauphiné Libéré live as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).

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Because of the long time span between the analysis of an 'A' and 'B' sample, the anti-doping clauses will take effect already after a positive 'A' test. "For the sake of precaution and to protect the image of the race, it has been agreed that the testing of the 'B' sample will not be waited for," Boyer explained.

The head of the team's association attracted the wrath of the UCI in March, when UCI president Pat McQuaid accused him of taking ASO's side in the conflict regarding Paris-Nice participation, and threatening him with a disciplinary procedure. At the time, AIGCP president Boyer had issued a recommendation of signing the participation contracts for the 'race to the sun', which was seen as impartiality by the UCI. This time, Boyer assured he did not make the same mistake again.

"After my Paris-Nice experience, the AIGCP worked with ASO to negotiate a participation contract for the Tour which is quite similar to the one we had for Paris-Nice," he continued. "But I did not, this time, give any recommendation to sign it. ASO sent the contracts to the teams, leaving them free to sign, or not to sign. I preferred this method in order not to re-live my experience at Paris-Nice. Also, this method shows that all the reproaches made by the UCI - that I manipulated the teams and pushed them to a signature of the contract - are ridiculous and false. When leaving the teams free to choose, all of them signed. So it made no difference - the result is the same."

Boyer added that, to date, no disciplinary procedure had been opened against him by the UCI.

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

October 4, 2008 - New ASO chief to maintain values
September 26, 2008 - UCI declares peace, appoints new VP
August 30, 2008 - UCI re-signs five ProTour races
August 22, 2008 - ProTour: Bouncing back or lame duck?
August 19, 2008 - Stapleton analyses 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - Feedback on 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - UCI announces 'world calendar'

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

Dauphiné preview: Astana vs Tour de France contenders

By Jean-François Quénet

The beauty of the Tour de France will be previewed in the Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

If one above all of the cycling events has benefited from the UCI's ProTour it has to be the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré. The French stage race, running this year from June 8 to 15, surely must be close to the top of the list of events that have changed for the good since the inception of the new series in 2005. When questioned about what the ProTour is worth for him, race organiser Thierry Cazeneuve answered, "It's the condition for getting the TV [coverage]."

Before 2005, there was a maximum of two days of live coverage of the Dauphiné, now it's seven days with the prologue broadcasted in the late evening by Eurosport after the final of the French Open of tennis. From an audience of 35 million viewers in 2005, the event has extended its impact to 59 million last year. In addition, there are more and more countries eager to get the rights for the pre-Tour de France race held in the French Alps.

There will be something different this year with the Tour de France being at odds with the International Cycling Union (UCI). The Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré is clearly in the camp of the UCI, while Cazeneuve is also the president of the French league of professional cycling that includes all the races organised by Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) - there's also no harmony these days inside the French cycling community.

Therefore, the defending champion will not be on the start line in Avignon since Christophe Moreau now belongs to the Professional Continental outfit Agritubel. The Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré sticks with the 18 ProTour teams and doesn't invite any other teams this year. It means Astana is welcome in the Alpine event although they are sidelined by ASO.

"Before getting their last minute invitation to the Giro d'Italia, Astana wanted to bring its best team, including Alberto Contador, to the Dauphiné," Cazeneuve explained. "Now, I understand that it was impossible for them to stop him after one week in the Giro as he was so close to the pink jersey."

To read the full preview of the Dauphiné, click here.

Leipheimer leads team in Dauphiné

Although the team has been snubbed by the Tour de France organisers this year, the Astana squad will be competing in the Dauphiné Libéré, starting this Sunday in Southern France. On the menu: a prologue, two flat stages, an individual time trial and, in the end, three difficult stages in the Alps (Col du Joux-Plane in stage 5, Col de la Croix de Fer and La Toussuire in stage 6 and Col du Granier, Col du Cucheron and Col de Porte in stage 7). The aim of the outfit directed by Alain Gallopin will be to defend its first place in the ProTour Team Classification, and help American Levi Leipheimer to a top overall placing.

The complete team line-up is: Jani Brajkovic, Chris Horner, Levi Leipheimer, Daniel Navarro, Sergio Paulinho, Benjamin Noval, José Luis Rubiera and Tomas Vaitkus.

Di Luca extends

Italian all-rounder Danilo Di Luca has extended his contract with the Pro Continental team LPR Brakes through 2011. The winner of the 2007 Giro d'Italia will thus remain with the team directed by Fabio Bordonali for another thee seasons.

Tour of Montreal won by attack

A solid team effort secured High Road the win
Photo ©: CJ Farquharson
(Click for larger image)

High Road's Judith Arndt won her third stage of the Tour of Montreal on Thursday, giving her the overall tour win. The victory was Arndt's fourth in six days, including her outstanding ride in the Montreal World Cup on Saturday.

High Road director Petra Rossner was impressed with the whole team's performance. "Judith won today, but it was really the team that won. They were all amazing," she said.

After the previous day's criterium, where Suzanne de Goede (Nürnberger) took the stage win and moved into the yellow jersey by two seconds over Arndt, Team High Road had to go into the final stage on the attack. Starting in the first lap with Mara Abbott, the US team started their offense. Abbott was in a small break for 75km, forcing Equipe Nürnberger to chase hard from the start.

"It was so exciting to know that I had five of the best riders in the world sitting back in the bunch," explained Abbott, "and that I was able to support them and that when the break came back they would be right there."

Rossner continued, "In the second last lap, the gap started coming down so we started to attack from behind. Chantal, Kate, Oenone and Kim all just kept attacking to make Nürnberger chase." On the final climb, Arndt made her move taking only Sara Carrigan with her. Towards the top she dropped Carrigan and soloed to the finish gaining 26 second on the bunch.

Team-mate Kate Bates explained the excitement after the stage. "Everyone really brought their A game today," she said, "and we rode off each others confidence and motivation. It's just so cool when the race goes exactly to plan, very satisfying."

"They did a brilliant job," added Rossner. "It wasn't that they won. It was the way they did it that makes me proud."

Quickstep signs Junior World champ

Belgian team Quickstep has finalised its first rider contract for the 2009 season. The Belgian team directed by Patrick Lefévère signed young Italian hopeful Davide Malacarne for next year. The 2005 Junior World Champ of Cyclo-Cross won the Circuito Belvedere in Treviso, Italy, in spring. Malacarne will turn 21 years this July.

Book review: Jacques Anquetil biography

Jacques Anquetil couldn't resist the female gender
Photo ©: Mainstream Publishing
(Click for larger image)

Jacques Anquetil was a man who didn't hesitate to do or take what he wanted - whether it was a bicycle race or a woman. His cycling palmarès alone would grant him a place in history, but it was his personal relationships which made him all the more remarkable. British journalist Paul Howard wrote a new biography of the French cycling star, "Sex, Lies and Handlebar Tape", and Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer took a look at it.

The book is a good read, an interesting look at the like of an extraordinary man. Howard reviewed Anquetil's life and cycling history in detail, and tops it off with personal interviews with his rivals, his friends and the (many) women in his life.

To put Anquetil's life in a nutshell: he won nearly everything there was to be won in his active pro career from 1951 to 1969. He made no bones about doping. And along the way he married the wife of his doctor and later fathered children by both his step-daughter and his daughter-in-law. He was loved by millions and the thousands attending his funeral included a former prime minister and such prominent cycling names as Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Raymond Poulidor and Rudi Altig.

Like a latter day multiple Tour de France winner, Anquetil decided to concentrate on that race which was the most important. Winning the Tour de France "would guarantee his prestige and his income," both of which were extremely important to him. He disliked one-day races not only because they were too difficult to control but also because they added little to his contract value.

Anquetil grew up on a strawberry farm in Normandy, a region where he was born in 1934 and which he loved dearly. But as early as his teenage years he looked to cycling as a way to improve not only his income but also his social standing. He first rode in the 1951 season, winning the fourth race that he started, followed by 14 more. The next year he won the French national amateur road title, the only national championship he ever won.

To read the full review, click here.

Bruyneel to US TV for Tour de France

Team Astana won't be riding the Tour de France this year, but team manager Johan Bruyneel will be involved with the race anyway. The Belgian will serve as commentator for American television Versus for the last week of the race, which includes the Alps stages, such as the mountaintop finish on L'Alpe d'Huez. During the first two weeks of the Tour, the Belgian will be in the US promoting his new book, "We Might As Well Win", which was issued in the US on June 3.

Astana spokesman Philippe Maertens confirmed to Cyclingnews Bruyneel's upcoming TV appearance, noting that Bruyneel "has a good relationship with the Americans since Armstrong's time," and wryly adding, "after all, he was 'free' in July."

Boonen too fast

Belgian sprinter Tom Boonen was once again too fast on the road and has lost his driver's license for the second time within a month. The Quick Step rider was stopped for driving 180 km/h in a 90 km/h zone shortly after midnight Wednesday morning and was also tested with an alcohol level of 1 permille, instead of the allowed 0.5 permille. He had to give up his driver's licence for two weeks.

Boonen had previously been stopped for speeding at the end of April, losing his license for two weeks.

The incident was not his only car-related problem this week. On Thursday, he was out training with directeur sportif Wilfried Peeters when a car turned abruptly in front of them. Boonen could not avoid hitting the vehicle, but was not injured.

Your chance to win in the Cyclingnews-Rapha competition - competition extended!

You can win this!
Photo ©: Rapha
(Go to the competition page)

This is your chance to win a full outfit of team kit plus the official team bike as raced by Dean Downing, the joint leader of the British Rapha-Condor-Recycling racing team. The bike, valued at over US$5600, is the Team Leggero. This is a bespoke carbon frame and is the official 2008 Rapha Condor Recycling Team bicycle.

Featuring hand-cut tubes, rear-ends and carbon lugs, the frame is hand-made to Condor's unique specifications and is built up with tubing from the highly respected Italian company Dedacciai, one of only a handful of companies in the world capable of producing such quality tube-sets and forks. It also features a full Dura-Ace groupset (including Dura-Ace wheels) and components from Deda Elementi, Fizik and Continental.

But wait! There's more. Yes, a full set of of Rapha's high-end cycling clothing is also included, featuring a pair of bib-knicks, a short-sleeve jersey, a jacket and cap. Make sure you enter to go into the draw as the competition has been extended with entries open until June 6, 2008.

Our thanks to our friends at Rapha for providing such awesome prizes. Good luck!

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